Selling out concerts is the norm for artists like Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Jay-Z. But one reggae sensation which doesn’t fit the mold has steadily topped charts and sold out concerts time after time.
On March 10, the popular Hasidic Jewish musician Matisyahu will perform at the BankUnited Center’s Fieldhouse. Sponsored by Hurricane Productions, Matisyahu will host an acoustic session followed by a discussion and a question-and-answer period.
“Instead of just a concert, Matisyahu really interacts with the audience in a more intimate setting and tells his story,” said freshman Allison Novack, co-chair of Special Events, the HP committee organizing the event. “Matisyahu attracts a targeted audience of not only Jews from the university, but people who enjoy different styles of music. His mix of sounds with both Hebrew and English brings a whole new edge to the table.”
For almost seven years, the unique sounds of Matisyahu, born Matthew Miller from suburban New York, have transcended trends. Matisyahu (Mah-tis-YA-hoo) simultaneously combines distinct genres such as reggae, pop-rock, hip-hop, ska-inspired new wave and acoustic folk tied with creative and emotional lyrics about Judaism as well as secular issues.
“I’ll be playing songs from my whole catalog and maybe one or two new ones,” Matisyahu said. “It’s acoustic so it’s really more about the beatbox, guitar and vocals- stripped back and a bit raw. It’s kind of like sitting down at a party and just hanging with the crowd in a laid-back vibe.”
Implanting meaningful, familiar themes into his songs, Matisyahu is known for moving audiences worldwide with his musical messages of peace, hope and understanding, according to a press release. And though most of Matisyahu’s lyrics are undoubtedly influenced by religion, his music has had the ability to connect people regardless of affiliation.
“I actually just saw his acoustic performance at the Arsht Performing Arts Center in Miami and it was unbelievable,” sophomore Jordan Magid said. “Matisyahu is a special representative of the Jewish community because he is there to teach listeners that all people have music in common. Although he may appear different on the surface, he has the same passion for art that everybody else does.”
Matisyahu, who has been performing since he was very young, is looking forward to playing at UM because he can “relate to kids at that age searching for meaning in their lives, their identity, etc.”
“When the audience and myself are transported into the moment, it’s an unparalleled experience,” Matisyahu said. “[Music] gives life and love in a way that for me nothing else could. I guess I had no choice but to ‘get into it’ or it got into me.”
Alexa Lopez may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org